As one of the most popular biennial games to take place amongst 55 nations, many of the world’s teams aspire to make the elite ranks of the Nation’s League. With Portugal finishing first last year and walking away with the trophy, England were left at third place. However, this year they have still made it into League A. So how has there performance gone and will they be making it to the finals?
What were the leagues in the 2020 Nation’s League?
This year, England were again in the A league, alongside some of the usual rivals. The leagues were broken down into the following:
Group 1: Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland
Group 2: England, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland
Group 3: Portugal, France, Sweden, Croatia
Group 4: Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, Germany
Group 1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania
Group 2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel
Group 3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary
Group 4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria
Group 1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro
Group 2: Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia
Group 3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece
Group 4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania
Group 1: Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands
Group 2: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
How did England do in the latest Nations’ League game?
After a heavy defeat against Belgium, it’s safe to say that unfortunately England will not be making it to the finals of the Nation’s League this year. With Belgium managing to score two early goals, it seems that England had already met defeat before the game had really got going. There was some promise as Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans managed to score in the first 10 minutes with his 20-yard shot, and again shortly after when Dries Mertens was awarded a free-kick. However, the team spent much of the second half of the game in their opponent’s side of the pitch.
Another factor that may have scuppered England’s chances of winning was the injury of Liverpool Captain, Jordan Henderson. Henderson was seen limping off the pitch with a suspected back injury. The midfielder had already come back from England duty with a thigh injury, yet Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp was initially hopeful of a full recovery.
What lessons can be learnt from the England-Belgium Nation’s League game?
- A flawed attack strategy – Some of the most promising moves came from jack Grealish and Harry Kane, however it seems that these efforts alone were not enough. Kane was well supported by a range of runners who paced up the pitch ahead of hi, allowing him to make the most of his attack capabilities, yet these efforts were not consistent or sustained and ultimately lead to their demise.
- Belgium’s Defence was a one upper – Belgium’s defence knew how to keep pushing the ball up the pitch and kept England at bay for the better part of the game, with their midfielder tactics getting one over on England.
- Mixing positions up – Some critics are claiming that a switch up of the current midfielders could have been more beneficial to the game. While it won’t make much of a difference to the Nation’s League games now, England could still put their new tactics to the test against Iceland.
Not all doom and gloom for England
What’s important to remember is that England did finish on a high note in a 4-0 with Iceland. Unlike the game against Belgium, the three lions began this game on good footing with Phil Foden securing a free kick early on in the game, as well as Declan Rice managing to score a successful header.
England’s midfielders put up a strong defence, managing to navigate the ball through some tight obstacles. Jack Grealish stood out as one of the top performing players, showing great skill as he dribbled the ball down the pitch. In addition, Mason Mount and Declan Rice showed a lot of promise as they engaged with the rest of the team in rapid exchanges with the ball and managing to find space for clean passes.
However, what really secured the game were the two goals at the very end of the game, securing a win against Iceland.
For those who want to get in on the action with the three lions, check out these free betting tips to make ensure you get a head start on your strategy. While England may not be in the Nation’s League anymore, their win against Iceland has stood them in good stead for future games.
Drilling down to what went wrong with Belgium
While England suffered a 2-0 defeat to Belgium, this could largely be put down to their formation of five at the back, which could do with a bit of a shake up. Perhaps the team should be focusing more on the offence for future games. In England’s last game Foden, Grealish and Mount turned out to be a lethal trio, with the three of them working together seamlessly to push the ball down the pitch, dribble and rotate out of tight manoeuvres and face up to Belgium’s tight defence, yet it wasn’t quite enough to secure themselves a win.
England are now firmly out of the Nation’s League after being defeated by Belgium, however it’s not all bad as there were lessons to be learnt and there’s more advantages to be taken in the future friendly games.